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Match Previews

Preview: Sunderland

All you need to know ahead of tonight's Papa John's Trophy Quare

2 February 2021

MK Dons take on Sunderland tonight in the quarter-finals of the Papa John's Trophy.

The two sides go head-to-head with a place in the Last 4 of the competition on offer, and the chance to move to within one game of a Wembley Final.

Russell Martin's men secured their quarter-final spot with a 2-0 win away at Northampton Town in the Round of 16, having previously seen off Norwich City Under-21s 6-0 at Stadium MK.

A victory tonight would see the Club tie their second-best run in this competition. Having previously won the competition in 2008, the Dons also reached the semi-final stage in 2010.

The tie must be settled this evening and therefore if the scores are level after 90 minutes, a penalty shoot-out will follow.

Kick-off is at 6.30pm.

THE OPPOSITION
Sunderland reached the knockout stages of the Papa John's Trophy as Group A runners-up but are one of the leading scorers in the competition with 18 goals to their name from their five matches so far.

The Black Cats, currently sixth in Sky Bet League One, are in good form, having lost just one of their last 11 matches in all competitions - a run which has seen them pick up six victories and keep six clean sheets.

Lee Johnson has led he revival since being appointed manager back in December 2020. He has also managed to add to his squad this month, signing Carl Winchester from Forest Green Rovers as well as Ross County striker Ross Stewart.

Stewart joins a strikeforce that is led by Charlie Wyke, who has 15 goals to his name this season. Chris Maguire, Grant Leadbitter and Aiden McGeady are other goal threats.

LAST TIME OUT
Second-half goals from Matt O’Riley and Matthew Sorinola saw MK Dons beat AFC Wimbledon 2-0 in the first meeting between the two sides at Plough Lane.

After a tight first-half, the Dons went ahead through January signing O’Riley, who raced onto Cameron Jerome’s cutback to slot home his first goal for the Club.

Two minutes later, Sorinola made the game safe, coming off the bench to fire in a second from 18-yards out - with a little help from a deflection.

Sunderland, meanwhile, were involved in a 2-2 thriller against Gillingham.

Aiden McGeady opened the scoring just six minutes into the encounter, however, Alex MacDonald would level with 28-minutes gone.

The first-half scoring wasn't done there, Grant Leadbitter netted in the 43rd minute to ensure Lee Johnson's side were ahead at the break.

Gillingham, however, found an injury-time equaliser through Jordan Graham to ensure the points were shared at the Stadium of Light.

TEAM NEWS
MK Dons have no fresh injury concerns heading into tonight's clash with Sunderland but do have a number of players out due to ineligibility.

Charlie Brown, Ethan Laird, Harry Darling and Deadline Day signing Zak Jules are all cup-tied having played in this season's competition for the former/parent clubs, while Will Grigg can't feature due to the terms of his loan deal from Sunderland.

In terms of injuries, Kieran Agard, Jay Bird, Jordan Houghton, David Kasumu and Andrew Surman all remain sidelined.

Sunderland will be without defender Bailey Wright, who is sidelined through concussion.

Denver Hume and Conor McLaughlin are out for an extended period after undergoing hernia surgery while Carl Winchester is cup-tied, but fellow January signing Ross Stewart could make his debut following his move from Ross County.

OFFICIALS
Thomas Bramall will be the man in the middle this evening.

Mr Bramall has overseen 18 matches so far this term, producing a total of 40 yellow cards. He has sent two players off and awarded three penalties.

His assistant referees are Grant Taylor and Michael Chard, while the fourth official is John Busby.

HEAD TO HEAD
Dons wins: 1
Dons wins at Stadium MK: 2
Last Dons win: 2-1, 14 Nov 2020 (Stadium of Light)
Biggest Dons win: 2-1, 14 Nov 2020 (Stadium of Light)

Draws: 0

Sunderland wins: 4
Sunderland wins at Stadium MK: 2
Last Sunderland win: 1-0, 18 Jan 2020 (Stadium MK)
Biggest Sunderland win: 2-0, 25 Sep 2012 (Stadium MK)

ELSEWHERE IN PAPA JOHN'S TROPHY
Oxford United v Sunderland
Tranmere Rovers v Peterborough United
Hull City v Lincoln City

FOLLOW IT LIVE
Supporters can watch tonight's Papa John's Trophy Quarter-Final tie with Sunderland LIVE on iFollow MK Dons.

With an iFollow MK Dons Video Match pass, you will be able to watch the full game on your laptop, computer, tablet or mobile device! Want to watch on your tablet or mobile device? Download the new EFL iFollow App and watch on the go, wherever you are!

To purchase a £10 Video Match Pass, click HERE and select Buy A Video Match Pass. Then simply log in to your iFollow MK Dons account and follow the instructions or register for an account, which can be done for free.


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